Q: Do you often include animals in your stories? What role do they play?
A: It varies a lot, from story to story. My steampunk-fantasy novel series includes giant beetles that can pull carriages, because giant beetles are cool. But it’s not uncommon for me to have stories with animals like the thorn creature in this story—I write myself into a situation where a human character is alone, but I want them to have some kind of dialogue or interaction with another character of some kind, so I’ll give them an animal sidekick. You learn a lot about a character by how they treat those animal companions.